Dubai’s projects market has performed strongly again this year, with awards before the start of Ramadan exceeding the total achieved in 2016 and with 10 days to spare.

According to regional projects tracker MEED Projects, in 2017 there were $13.2bn of contract awards ahead of Ramadan, which started on 27 May. In 2016, there were $12.3bn of contract awards ahead of Ramadan, which started on 6 June.

Ramadan is traditionally a slower period for contract awards, and most in the market expect a slowdown in work being let until after the summer in September.

The main awards this year have been for retail related projects. The largest was the $1.143bn contract awarded to the local United Engineering Construction (UNEC) by local developer Nakheel for the construction of Deira Mall on the Deira Islands development.

The three-level mall will have four million square feet of leasable space, with over 1,000 shops, cafes, restaurants and entertainment outlets.

The second largest contract awarded in Dubai this year by value is the estimated $610m contract awarded to the local Alec by local developer Emaar Properties for the construction of the shopping mall the Dubai Hills development.

The only other contract awarded worth more than $500m was the $599m contract awarded to the local/UK Al-Futtaim Carillion for the construction of the three Theme Districts at the Expo 2020 site in Dubai.

More key awards are expected later this year. The most high profile will be the contract award for the world’s tallest structure – The Tower at Dubai Creek Harbour. In March, local developer Emaar Properties appointed contractors to provide pre-construction services and an award is expected before the end of this year.

 hh sheikh mohammed reviews progress of the tower

hh sheikh mohammed reviews progress of the tower

It is understood there are two groups working on pre-construction agreements. They are a joint venture of South Korea’s Samsung C+T and the local/Belgian Belhasa Six Construct, and a team of the local Dutco Group and Tishman – which is part of the US’ Aecom.

On 26 May, UAE Vice President and Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum reviewed the progress of the project. He was briefed on the milestones already achieved including the completion of foundation work and the commencement of work on the anchorages for the stay cables that are an integral part of design and structural support of The Tower.

Other major awards include the One Zabeel Tower, and various road infrastructure packages serving the Dubai Expo site.